INBEtween-gray KL

Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan

Interview with Mrs. Faudziah IBRAHIM, Head Division, Development  KLCC Property Holdings Berhad, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


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1. The metropolitan area
How extensive is the metropolitan area and how are the metropolitan values and identity formed for this the area? What makes your metropolitan area internationally attractive?



Greater Kuala Lumpur (GKL) was set up 2 years ago by Prime Minister and was part of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). This Programme intends to bring forward Malaysia towards 2020 as a developed nation. This vision 2020 has started in 1988, then Malaysia committed itself to become a developed country.  Therefore the country needed to increase the salary of the inhabitants, to move from an agricultural to an industrial country and increase the Bruto National Product.  At the moment the country has moved to a service led industrial economy. Malaysia was known as an exporting country of rubber, now it is also known as the biggest chip producer country.

GKL is 2700 km2 and it is defined as an area covered by 10 municipalities surrounding Kuala Lumpur, each governed by local authorities - Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), Perbadanan Putrajaya, Shah Alam City Council (MBSA), Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), Klang Municipal Council (MPK), Kajang Municipal Council(MPKj), Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ), Selayang Municipal Council, Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) and Sepang Municipal Council (MPSp). Malaysia used to be a common wealth country and it is organised like in the United Kingdom. There are districts with a council, they are no boroughs, and some district together form a city.

Greater KL is composed of 10 Local Authorities
2010 Total Population > 5.7 mln

In GKL, there is one city and the rest are all districts, however these districts will become a city soon, due to the increase of inhabitants and the standard of infrastructure.

For GKL to be internationally attractive, there are 4 focus points: residential, commercial, retail and green. The city develops as a mix of residential, commercial, retail and green areas. The industry has been relocated outside the city area of GKL, to keep the pollution out of the city centre. Concerning the green, the city strives for an international standard concerning sustainability. This means green areas, less carbon footprint, less energy consumption, electric cars and motorbikes. This makes GKL a better city to live in.

The KLCC  (City Centre) has the main commercial centres of KL, where the government creates new business hubs. KLCC is divided in 6 main projects zones of several acres, between 26 to 100 acres.

2. Governance & Cooperation
Is there a form of metropolitan strategy in place and what fields of policy does it entail? Which stakeholders are involved and what is their role and responsibility in this metropolitan strategy? How are the different territorial levels associated to the metropolitan governance? And how is the cooperation of different territorial levels maintained in the planning process that is increasingly subject to a rapid changing economic, social and technological environment?

The Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) is a comprehensive effort that will transform Malaysia into a high-income nation by 2020. It will lift Malaysia's gross national income (GNI) per capita from USD6,700 or RM23,700 in 2009 to more than USD15,000 or RM48,000 in 2020, propelling the nation to the level of other high income nations. This GNI growth of six per cent per annum will allow us to achieve the targets set under Vision 2020. Successful implementation of the ETP will see Malaysia's economy undergo significant changes to resemble other developed nations. We will continue our shift towards a service-based economy, with the services sector contribution growing from 58 percent to 65 percent in the same period. More than 3.3 million new jobs will be created by 2020, spread across the country in urban and rural areas. The nature of these new jobs will result in a shift towards middle and high-income salary brackets. Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley will be transformed into a world-class city. Finally, growth will be achieved in a sustainable manner, without cost to future generations, through initiatives such as building alternative energy generation capacity and conserving our environment to promote eco-tourism.

The ETP consists of two parts – the vertical thrusts represented by the 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) which will provide focus, and the six Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRIs), cross-cutting policy changes that will enable Malaysia to be competitive in the global arena.
National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs): Providing the Focus for Economic Growth Through extensive collaboration with the private sector, the 12 NKEAs were determined to be sectors where Malaysia is globally competitive. They are the key growth engines for our economy going forward. To ensure that these NKEAs produce big results fast, they receive prioritised public investment and policy support.

The ETP is designed to be led by the private sector while the Government will primarily play the role of facilitator. Most of the funding will come from the private sector (92 per cent) with public sector investment being used as a catalyst to spark private sector participation.
The ETP presents a departure from the norm because it is focused on actions, not on theoretical principles and ideas. Each NKEA has a lead minister who will assume responsibility for ensuring smooth implementation and delivery.

In the ETP the government and private companies work together. The government has initiated the ETP and the private companies help the government to propel the administration. The goal is a yearly economic growth of 6%, currently it is even 6,5%.

National Key Area Projects (NKEA)
The 12 NKEAs are: Oil, Gas and Energy; Palm Oil & Rubber; Financial Services; Tourism; Business Services; Electrical and Electronics; Wholesale and Retail; Education; Healthcare; Communications Content and Infrastructure; Agriculture; and Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley
In addition to the 11 industry sectors, Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang valley was selected as an NKEA through a separate process. Kuala Lumpur currently accounts for about one third of Malaysia's GDP. Cities are significant drivers of growth, and a thriving Kuala Lumpur is vitally important to the health and performance of the overall economy. The portfolio of NKEA sectors will evolve over times, depending on the performance of various sectors in the economy. There will be a rigorous process to remove slow-growing sectors from the NKEA portfolio as well as to identify emerging drivers of growth that may be added.


3. New forms of urbanity and metropolitan environments
What are the key development projects (flagships, major infrastructure, social or cultural equipment, etc.) and programs (information, incentives, investments), of your metropolitan strategy? How is the dialogue carried between the specific ambitions of local key projects and the ambition of the metropolitan territory?

Due to the 2020’s term not so far away anymore, the national government has a focus on 10 National Key Economic Areas for GKL:
1. Multinational companies attraction. To make sure they (Reuter, Microsoft,…) come and locate in KL. In order for them to do so KL needs the necessary infrastructure, good housing, good shopping areas, international schools and above all the environment, the right atmosphere for the expats to come to Malaysia.

2. Talent attraction. To make sure the experts are coming to Malaysia. Many talents from Malaysia now work abroad; we want them to come back to Malaysia. Therefore we try to pay the same salary and offer good facilities and housing and ask them to work for big companies.

3. High speed rail. Currently when you want to go to Singapore, there is no high-speed train. There will be high-speed train between KL and Singapore, which will take 45 minutes and from KL to Bangkok that will take 3 hours, which also connects KL better to China.

4. Metrolines: currently the metrolines and town planning are not optimal, you have to move out of one station to go to another station and this will be improved. There will also be new metrolines that will make connections within GKL itself. Now metrolines (private companies) and town planning (government) are intertwined.

5. Rivers of Life. The government is revitalising the river that comes across the city centre. Along the river a lot of activities can take place in the future. This project will take a lot of effort to be developed.

6. Green parks: Every new development has to develop some green spaces, it can be on the ground or it can be on top of the building, like roof gardens.

7. Iconic places, many ethnic groups in KL. Every group has its place: little India, little Italy, little China…

8. Pedestrian areas: KL has only 2 seasons, summer and raining season; People are able to safely walk from building to building (connectivity) and on the ground it will be covered and safer. This can be on the ground of elevated. This allows people to leave their car at home and walk or use public transportation. These linkages have architectural aspects and might create a landscape.  

9. Solid waste management: During development this is often forgotten. It is important to have a proper connection.

10. Sewage: Due to the raining season, floods were a problem in KL. These last 5 years there have not been floods any more.

All these areas have the goal to create a better city for people to live in. People used to work in KL and live outside. Since the last 10 years, they live, work, stay, play within the city centre. Therefore, there is a lot of high and residential within the city centre. Public house is more outside the city centre, but still within the GKL. Now shopping malls are open until ten. You can find food everywhere.

Developments are done in co-operation with the private sector: Corporate Social Responsibility. 
The money is private money, however the government controls the process. The government says to the private sector: you have earned a lot, you should give something back to the society. The government gives a lot of initiatives to the private sector. When the private sector does something, they can get tax reductions in return.

4. Innovative economical sectors
Is the regional level competitive enough in a globalized economic and innovation-led system clusters and does it remove the obstacle of the vertical organisation of public policy?

KL has started on the solar voltage, where we save the energy and reuse the energy for the different districts. In certain development areas, there are collective systems, that make sure there is clean water and air for all the buildings in that area. The motive is to make the employee happy to come to the office.

On the streets there are a lot of sensors, in the parks KL use LED lighting. KL uses the latest technology concerning the grey water. The innovations are mainly for the public using the city and for the buildings.

There are also innovation clusters mainly led  by the government.

KL is a young city, but there are some old building clusters. Malaysia got independence in 1957, our development started 50 years after the independence and it is therefore still very young. The old areas are not resilient, the new ones are. They are able to adapt to the technology of the coming years. Concerning the needs for specific technology, KL learns from the US. Key words are sustainable, energy saving, energy effective,  less carbon footprint. Currently the developers are approaching the companies in the world and ask them what they require to move to KL. The main thing for these companies is to make your employees happy. Many of the employees can work from home as well and therefore you need a good IT network.

Concerning public transport, the stations of different lines need to be interconnected.

In 2020, there will a good connection with Singapore, there will be good IT connections, but KL will also be a nice city to live and meet your friends. Now the private sector is an important partner in the development. In the future the government has to involve the public participation, this by lowering the regulations and give incentives to the public.

The government, the private sector and the public have to work together. The government can change regulations to initiate investments to the private sector.


5. Sustainable development
On which central themes and key policies is your metropolitan strategy set upon? How do these themes and policies overcome the short-term instability of any long-term vision and deliver a performing and resilient territorial development?

Greater KL/KV is not seen as a pedestrian-friendly city, with pedestrian network that was thought to be inefficiently designed, poorly maintained and has poor accessibility. Locals and visitors often find that there are no linkages between buildings, poor continuity and lack of access for the physically challenged and elderly. The goal of the pedestrian network EPP is to create a barrier free, handicapped friendly pedestrian network that also encompasses the safe city concept for 42 km of pedestrian network within the Kuala Lumpur by 2020.

Greener KLC
To become a top-20 liveable city in the world, KL City needs to significantly increase its green space. Today, the amount of green space per person in the city centre is only 11 square metres, which falls behind other leading liveable cities, such as Vancouver with 22 square metres per person. At current trajectory of population growth, the amount of green space per person will be further reduced by 2020. Greener KL aims to plant 100,000 large-coverage trees within Kuala Lumpur by 2020 while promoting usage of green spaces by organising events in KL's parks. In addition, Greener KL aims to draw private participation in the Greener KL efforts through increased sponsorship of trees, participation in park maintenance and events as well as encouraging developments that supports the Greener KL objective.

River of Life
Spanning over 10 years till 2020, RoL aims to transform the Klang River into a vibrant and liveable waterfront with high economic value. This transformation is divided into three components: river cleaning, river masterplanning and beautification and river development.

River Cleaning
River cleaning will be conducted along a 110km stretch along the Klang River basin, covering the municipal areas of Majlis Perbandaran Selayang (MPS), Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya (MPAJ) and Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL). The goal is to bring the river from its current Class III – Class V water quality (not suitable for body-contact) to Class IIb (suitable for body-contact recreational usage) by year 2020

River Masterplanning and Beautification
To increase economic viability of the area, masterplanning and beautification works will be carried out along a 10.7km stretch along the Klang and Gombak river corridor. Significant landmarks in the area include Dataran Merdeka, Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad and Masjid Jamek.

Solid Waste
In order to enhance city liveability, efficient solid waste management has been defined as a necessary and key issue. In managing solid waste in the GKL/KV conurbation, the Government will focus on initiatives aimed at increasing the recycling rates, managing the costs of solid waste disposal, and deploying the use of technologies to treat generated solid waste. There are four major initiatives under this EPP:

  • Increase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (3R) implementation.
  • Increase waste treatment capacity to reduce the amount of solid waste disposed in the landfill.
  • Improve governance of solid waste management and public cleansing services.
  • Assess future potential for leveraging new developments in technology like automatic waste collection systems and deep bins to improve waste collection standards.

Sewerage – Non River
Growing urban economies naturally create more demand for services. To become a liveable city in the world in parallel with its dynamic growth, Greater KL needs to improve its water and sewerage systems to ensure adequate provision of services and amenities. In the area of water supply, this will be achieved through accelerating the approval and construction of supply facilities to accelerate the development of more water treatment facilities in Greater KL. For sewerage services, efforts were focused on increasing the percentage of population connected to efficient regional networks and respectively, moving away from a system of fragmented and small STPs which frequently do not adhere to environmental requirements. Further capital investments will be required to support refurbishment and upgrades of 32 regional Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs) and 1,495 multipoint STPs that do not currently meet the new DOE quality standards. The target will be to have 91% of all STPS upgraded to a Category 1 status by 2020. A sewerage rehabilitation programme will also be carried out to upgrade 346 km of existing sewer network.

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